GUEST ARTICLE: The short 3-hour flight it took us to fly from Vancouver, BC to Anchorage, Alaska was by far the most beautiful plane ride that we’ve ever been on. We were so lucky to have clear blue skies while flying over the giant snow capped Coast Mountains and the deep blue Pacific Ocean. July was a great month to go!
We picked up our car rental at the airport and headed to a nice little B&B we had found on the Internet called Highland Glen Bed and Breakfast. There are heaps of accommodations in Anchorage but we found them to be pretty pricey.
I’m not sure if it was because of the summer season, but it definitely paid for us to do some research. Luckily we ended up picking a little gem, the owners were fantastic and very helpful in pointing us to all the tourist hot spots. One day we even had our own little moose show right out on the front lawn, too cool!
We had arrived early in the afternoon and quickly checked in and dropped off our gear in order to take advantage of the beautiful weather and daylight.
We soon found out that there would be no problem of daylight shortage. Later that night or I should say morning at about 1am it was still fairly light outside. This made our trip even better and we got to really take full advantage of each and every day.
Our first excursion was a drive down south along the Seward Highway to a little place called Girdwood. The 45-minute drive was really scenic and it’s said to be one of the best in the world (we agree!). The highway runs alongside the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet and is really impressive.
At that time it was low tide and there was a vast expanse of smooth mudflats with the pretty backdrop of the giant Coastal Mountains. The tidal changes in that particular area are really something to see and if you time it right you can witness a Tidal Bore or maybe even see a Beluga Whale.
Girdwood is Alaska’s ski capital and has one of the best chairlifts we’ve been on. You can find this at the Alyeska Resort. The ride soars high over lush green forest and deep natural pools. We saw a moose and heard of a bear sighting as well.
During the ride we were both awestruck by the breathtaking beauty of the Chugach National Forest. The surrounding mountains were snow capped and brilliant green. It was just incredible. Once we got to the top we got a chance to play in some of winter’s leftover snow. This is a definite must do if you’re ever in the area.
I had always imagined Anchorage to be a small town but in reality it’s actually a pretty good size city and home to almost 300,000 people. On the weekend there is a nice little farmer’s market to go and explore that showcases all kinds of local foods and handicrafts.
For lunch we found a great little place downtown called the Alaska Salmon Chowder House. The Alaskan Crab there was excellent and it soon became our favorite lunch spot.
On another big outing we drove south again but this time we turned off to Cooper Landing. We heard that this was a really scenic drive and we also heard that the salmon were starting to run. Cooper Landing is a popular fishing spot and we were hoping we might be able to watch some fishermen reeling some in.
The drive certainly was scenic but unfortunately we were just a bit too early for the salmon run. So instead we went on a really nice walk along the river. There are heaps of walking trails and also an excellent biking trail all along the highway.
When we got back to Anchorage later that evening we decided to go take a look at their famous lookout point. When we got there we saw a trail teaming with hikers called Flattop Peak Trail and so we decided to give it a go. It took us 2 ½ hours of some pretty hard going at times and a few hairy spots but in the end it was all worth it. It’s a fantastic walk and gives a spectacular view of the City and surrounding area.
This is a pretty hard walk but we did happen to see a couple of 4 year olds coming down?! Man they breed them tough in the north!
On our last day we went to the Anchorage Zoo, which we have to say was pretty impressive. It has all of Alaska’s best and is well known for taking in orphaned and injured animals. It was a great place to learn about and see Alaska’s animals.
We really liked the Muskox, something we had never seen before and the wolves and giant Bald Eagles we also pretty remarkable.
There are so many things to do in Alaska and lots of beautiful parks to explore. We spent 5 days and barely touched it! What we did see and do we absolutely loved and next time we would probably like to take a Ferry up from Victoria. For all you nature lovers out there definitely put this one on your To Do List!!
Rob Gower’s Anchorage, Alaska Photo Gallery
This travel diary has been written by Rob Gower, a friend who enjoys taking the road less traveled!